Civilians remain victims of senseless violence
February is supposed to be the month of love – the month when people show off their love towards their loved ones or towards one another even without offering a rose.
But alas, this was not the case in the troubled far South. Instead, February saw an escalation of violence and in many of the violent cases, the victims were innocent civilians and at least three children who were killed.
The followings are the violent incidents perpetrated against the innocent civilians.
February 3. Unidentified gunmen raided the house of the Mamun family in Narathiwat’s Bacho district reportedly looking for the father for a revenge. Somehow, it ended up with all his three sons, aged 6 to 11, got killed. The father managed to escape and a daughter fortunately was not at home otherwise she must have been killed too.
February 9. Sub-Lt Benjaporn Kuathung, a non-combat soldier, was riding a motorcycle on her way to buy food at a bazaar in Tambon Pungklab, Yaring district of Pattani, the pillion rider of another motorcycle shot her to death and then set her body on fire. A note was left at the scene saying that it was a revenge for the murder of the three brothers in Bacho district.
February 12. An outsource employee of the Bangkok Bank’s Nong Chik branch in Pattani, Ms Sayamon sae Lim, 29, was gunned down as she was riding a motorcycle back home from the office in Panareh district of Pattani. Again the assailants then poured gasoline on her body and set it on fire.
February 13. Assailants believed to be insurgents opened fire with assault rifles into a small group of people about to provide alms to a monk in Tambon Mae Lan, Pattani’s Mae Lan district. The gunfires killed the monk, a mother and her child and another villager. Ten other civilians were also injured.
February 22. Assailants opened fire into a shelter set up to buy rubber latex from rubber planters in Yala’s Kabang district, killing two women and a man. A six-year boy was also injured.
Februrary 23. An elderly couple, Mr Daloh Padung and his wife, Mrs Mariyae, were resting in their house in Bannag Sata district of Yala when a group of assailants broke in and shot both of them to death. Then they torched the house and a car.
The number of violent incidents targeting civilians is believed to grow further as there are still five days to go before the end of February.
Recently, members of the network of civil society dedicated to helping women victimized by the southern conflict paid visits to the victims who are mostly treated at the Prince of Songkhla hospital in Hat Yai.
The volunteers visited Mrs Padeela Maeyu, mother of the three brothers killed on February 3. Mrs Padeela who is four-month pregnant suffered gunshot wounds survived the attack by playing dead.
The father, Mr Jehmoo, who was at the hospital tending to his wounded wife, told members of the women’s network that he believed the assailants wanted to kill him but he didn’t expect them to kill all his three boys.
He said his wife saw the three assailants in their house, all of them wearing black boots and speaking Thai.
Jehmoo has declined police protection after the fatal incident against his family saying what he needed was just a handgun to protect himself.
Another innocent victim from the senseless violence was 24-year old Paripat Koolnarong, a fourth student of environmental science at Ratchabhat University’s Nakhon Si Thammarat campus who was injured on February 23 when assailants opened fire into a monk and people providing alms.
Paripat was shot in his right arm and right cheek and was awaiting surgery to fix some broken bones. His relatives said they expected the government would help the victim finish his study.